Yash Roy, Contributing Photographer

The New Haven Police Department has released photos of five individuals who they believe were witnesses or suspects in an alleged hate crime that took place outside Davenport College in early September. 

This move comes after police hit an apparent dead end in a month-long investigation that was initially marred by miscommunication between NHPD and the Yale Police Department.

“The identification through these videos is very important,” NHPD Chief Karl Jacobson said at a Friday press conference. “It’s helped us with numerous cases with homicides, shootings, everything so it’s really important we get this out.”

The photos were taken by a city-owned camera on the Broadway parking lot. Police said the suspects appeared to drive off in two white pickup trucks and a gray or silver Hyundai Genesis. 

NHPD

The incident, which took place just after midnight on Sept. 3, left a New Haven resident — identified publicly as “Franklin” — with a broken jaw. 

Franklin had been walking with his partner and two other friends when at least two white men hurled anti-Black and anti-Latino racial slurs at him on York Street. The assailants then physically assaulted and beat Franklin until he fell into the street. 

While the assault occurred in a spot downtown under both Yale and New Haven cameras, technical issues prevented these cameras from capturing license plates or other identifying details of the suspects.

Images of the vehicles and license plates were “distorted” due to distance from the cameras, NHPD Assistant Police Chief Bertram Ettienne said.

When asked if YPD was concerned that NHPD took almost a month to release the photos to identify suspects and witnesses, Campbell told the News that he understood that NHPD had many active investigations which may have led to the timing of the release. 

“They’ve got a lot going on here,” Campbell told the News. “Even though we would have loved to have done it sooner, we understand that as serious as this is, they’re dealing with a lot.” 

When asked about the delay, Ettienne told the News that the department wanted “to be cautious with the release of information” to ensure that people are not wrongly implicated. 

Ettienne added that the NHPD also plans to release footage of the incident soon, and will do so once the investigators have finished sifting through it. 

“We want to be cautious with releasing footage,” Ettienne added, saying that the NHPD wants to make sure that any individuals shown were likely involved in the incident. “The last thing we want to do is release video of footage that is not clear or of someone who was not involved being wrapped into this unnecessarily.” 

While the initial confrontation was not captured on camera, Ettienne said they are able to see two to three individuals assaulting the victim. 

In addition to the NHPD and YPD camera footage, the NHPD is also working with cell phone footage from a civilian. Jacobson said that even a “snippet” of a video footage from civilians will be useful for the investigation, encouraging people to send anything they might have.  

Campbell mentioned the success YPD investigators found when they released images of the perpetrators who vandalized the Kline Biology Tower with racist and anti-Semitic graffiti last year. 

“We hope that through these pictures and information that we provide, we know that someone out there will recognize these individuals,” Campbell commented at the press conference. “We believe that we can bring true justice and solve this incident and help the anxiety and the frustration that the entire community is feeling.”

Elicker too joined in the appeal, asking for the public’s help to identify the suspects. 

“Hate has no home in New Haven, discrimination has no home in New Haven and we will not tolerate it,” Elicker said at the press conference. 

Jacobson was confirmed unanimously by the Board of Alders on July 5th, 2022.

YASH ROY
Yash Roy covers City Hall and State Politics for the News. He is also a Production & Design editor. Originally from Princeton, New Jersey, he is a sophomore in Timothy Dwight College double majoring in Economics and American Studies.
SOPHIE SONNENFELD
Sophie Sonnenfeld covers cops and courts. She is a sophomore in Branford College majoring in Political Science and Anthropology.